Canada Provincial and Territorial Allocations Announced for National Cap on Study Permit Applications

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has finalized provincial and territorial allocations for 2024 for the previously announced national cap on study permits.

According to a statement from the Ministry:

The national cap is based on the amount of expiring study permits this year. This means that the number of international students coming to Canada in 2024 should be the same as the number of students whose permits expire this year. For 2024, the target is 485,000 approved study permits.

About 20% of students apply for an extension each year and remain in the country. Therefore, IRCC subtracted that amount (97,000) from the target of 485,000 and set aside a small buffer to allow for other variations, resulting in a revised target of 364,000 approved study permits in 2024.

Accordingly, based on the national approval rate of 60% for study permit applications, the target of 364,000 approved study permits translates into a cap of 606,000 study permit applications received for 2024.

Some international students are exempt from the cap, such as primary and secondary school students and master’s or doctoral degree students. IRCC deducted the estimated volume of these groups (140,000 based on 2023 data) from the 2024 target number of approved study permits. This resulted in a target of 236,000 approved study permits for 2024, which converts to roughly 393,000 study permit applications to be allocated. 

IRCC distributed the adjusted number of study permit applications, 393,000, based on the population share of each province and territory. Under this model, some provinces and territories would get more students in 2024 than in 2023, while others would see fewer new students. 

For provinces that would receive more international students in 2024 than in 2023 based on population share, we adjusted their allocation to limit growth to 10% compared to 2023.

For provinces that would receive fewer international students in 2024 than in 2023, we adjusted their allocation to lessen the negative impact in the first year and support broader regional immigration goals.

IRCC also topped up allocations for provinces whose approval rate was lower than 60%. The top­-ups will help provinces with lower approval rates reach their expected number of approved study permits in 2024. 

As a result, a total of about 552,000 study permit applications have been allocated to provinces and territories under the national cap. These allocations are expected to yield approximately 292,000 approved study permits, representing a 28% reduction from 2023 for the groups included under the cap. 

Many variables may influence the number of new international students who arrive in Canada in 2024, for example

  • provinces and territories with room to grow may not end up using their full allocations
  • approval rates may change
  • in-year adjustments may be required.
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